A cat came drifting onto my porch from the outside cold
And with eyes closed, drinking warm milk from my bowl
"Nobody hears me! Nobody hears me!"
As I crept in so soft
And "Nobody sees me! Nobody sees me!"
As I watched six steps off

Like peacocks wandering the walkways of the zoo
Who have twice the autonomy the giraffes and the tigers do
"No one can stop me! No one can stop me!
No one clips my claws.
Now everyone watch me! Everyone watch me
scale these outside walls!"

Oh you, pious and profane
Put away your praise and blame
Said, "A glass can only spill what it contains"
To the perpetually plain, the incurably inane
A glass can only spill what it contains

What new mystery is this?
What blessed backwardness?
The Immeasurable One is held and does not resist!
Struck by wicked words and foolish fists of senseless men
The Almighty One does not defend

I was halfway listening to what she thinks she knows
We're like children dressing in our parents' clothes
"Nobody knows me. Nobody knows me.
No one knows my name.
Nobody knows me. Nobody knows me.
No, nobody knows me."

I half-heartedly explained
But gave up peacefully ashamed
A glass can only spill what it contains
We went to Portugal and Spain
And in her mind the entire time it rained
A glass can only spill what it contains

What new mystery is this?
In overflowing emptiness
The Invisible is seen among the shadows and the mist
Before my doubting eyes the Infinite appears in time
The Unquestionable is questioned but makes no reply

What new mystery is this?
What new mystery is this?
What new mystery is this?
What new mystery is this?
What new mystery is this?
"My Rabbi!"
My lips betray with a kiss
What new mystery is this?

Lyrics submitted by Fat Kid With Asthma, edited by Numbzie

A Glass Can Only Spill What It Contains song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentThis song is referring to people (or situations) that attempt to give an outward appearance of one thing, but invisibly or inside they hide something totally different. It's like hypocrisy, only not as noticeable. And specifically, I think, this song is referring to Christians who are hard-hearted, totally orthodox, old church lady type that don't embrace what having Christ in your life is all about. The title meets the theme as "as a glass can only spill what it contains" refers to the fact that in the end you can't bring forth what's not inside. It's like when Jesus said out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. So if all one has in their heart is a melovalent spirit, they wont be able to affectively show the love and kindness someone who is filled with the Holy Spirit can (see Galatians 5).

    The last line might be a nod that he can relate to this, as Judas himself (the most infamous traitor of all) kissed Jesus upon betraying him. Amazing song.
    LifeMeansBitteron October 17, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentto me, I think it means that we live our lives with the sense that we're alone, that we have some control over our lives, that we're unharmable, untainable, all powerful, even if it be unconcious that we think this. When the whole time God is looking on, loving us, watching us, hearing us. And in reference to the cross, we redicule him, we spit on him, we pertend he doesn't effect our lives, we pertend we're diests and he is no longer a part of this thing we call our lives. And yet he doesn't defend, he doesn't appear and say "behold, I am God bow down and worship me, for you are pathetic human beings who don't deserve me" or something like that, while that is in every way completly true.

    We think we're something special as we profane his name and he gives no defense. to sum it up.
    to_save_madmenon June 16, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentaaron said that the cat with eyes closed drinking milk metaphor was referring to how we think we can sin and stuff because no one sees us, yet God still sees us, so we're really not hiding from anyone.

    aaron also brought in the allusions to Christs death. I'm guessing that he was trying to show a contrast between us and Christ, in that we try to hide our sin, and Christ died for that sin. he ties it together at the end too, "my lips betray with a kiss!"

    although we know Christ died to take away our sin, we continue in it, and we betray Him every time we sin.

    my $.02
    cossaron September 16, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHm, I hear something a bit different. To me it's a song about the existence of God, and Aaron's asserting that God is there whether or not you believe it. And he puts it so wonderfully that I'd really like to believe myself...

    The cat, the peacock and the woman represent 3 different reasons why people might not believe in God. For the cat, it's just ignorance - if I can't see anyone then there's no one there - which is obviously stupid. If the cat stopped to think, it might wonder where the bowl of milk came from. 'A glass can only spill what it contains' might thus be about creation in this case. i.e. the things we enjoy are only there because someone put them there, as a glass is only as full as someone has filled it.

    The peacock is my favourite. What a perfect metaphor! I think it represents the free thinker. The peacock thinks it's free because it's comparing itself to others who are in cages. It thinks it is in control of its own fate. It can go anywhere, and no one can tell it what to do. But it doesn't realise that the world it knows is only a microcosm - the real world is unthinkably bigger and more complex - and it is only free within that tiny world because the zookeepers choose to indulge it. If they did decide to crack down, the peacock couldn't possibly resist. The glass in this case is the mind. We may take pride in our minds, and show off about the liberality of our ideas, but we can't really take credit for them; we're only capable of what God made us capable of. We can only produce according to what God has given us.

    The woman is someone who thinks people only believe in God because they want to - because it feels nice to believe that someone's watching over you, who knows you and knows your name. But she won't have that; she's got enough courage to face her aloneness in the world. But what she doesn't see, that the singer does see, is that in fact her aloneness is making her miserable, and that anyhow she's playing with ideas that are too big for her or for anyone ('dressing in our parents' clothes'). They're too big for him too, and he can't persuade her to change her mind, but unlike her, he's prepared to admit his ignorance on the theism question. The 'glass' line here reminds me of Jesus saying in Luke 6:44f that 'Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers...Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.' She doesn't 'contain' the peace that the singer has because she's clinging to what she's decided is true, and unhappiness 'spills' out.

    I think the rest of the song, the parts about Jesus, uses the 'glass' line to show how Jesus leveled the playing field. By showing that no one is anything more than what God made them, he totally disarmed pride ('turned around the praise and blame').

    I really like how Aaron acknowledges his own doubts. For him, the extraordinary life of Jesus seems to tilt the balance and woo him into believing in God (rather than reasoning him into it). It's still a mystery, but just as Jesus so bizarrely chose not to answer his accusers at his trial, so God seems to choose not to answer all our questions, and remain a mystery. For some reason s/he seems to like it that way.

    Awesome song. The philosophy isn't watertight, but it's compelling at a gut level, and that's kind of the point. I think I'm a *little* more inclined towards theism after thinking about this song. Though that might just be because I was stung by the satire, since it's all directed at people just like me...
    meudwenon September 10, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think that this song is about the way that we exalt ourselves, but that these exaltations are just an illusion. They are ways in which the ego builds itself up, but there is nothing substantial behind these claims.

    In the first verse the cat thinks it is so sneaky and self-sustaining by drinking the milk. But this is a deception as the milk has been provided by a person watching "six steps off."

    In the second verse, the peacock thinks it is free and it does have more autonomy than the animals in the cages. But this freedom is also an illusion because at any moment the zookeepers could put it in a cage as well.

    In the last verse, the woman thinks she knows so much more than she really does and has a higher opinion of herself than she should. They put on different roles that they which are not truly them, like "children dressing in our parents clothes." Through this they try to disguise who they really are. But again, these are all self-deceptions and ways to exalt themselves

    In contrast to these images of people/animals trying to exalt themselves is the portrayal of Jesus as the ultimate example of humility. Jesus doesn't try to exalt himself or create an image for himself. He doesn't defend himself from the attacks of people who have such a high opinion of themselves. However, out of this humility comes true power and greatness. This relates strong to verses in the Bible such as Matthew 18: "whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven" and Matthew 23:12 - "All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted." This is the "new mystery" and "blessed backwardness"

    This comes down to the chorus. "A glass can only spill what it contains" relates to the fact that we can only offer what we really are, not false self-conceptions. Those who exalt themselves don't really have much to offer because there isn't much behind this boasting. The "exalted" are then "humbled" by this. Jesus on the other hand, has humbled himself, and through this has become truly great. Therefore, his "spilled glass" has a lot to offer because it truly contains greatness and power. This can also be related to Jesus not defending himself when being taken to be crucified. Because of his humble willingness to empty himself, this event of "overflowing emptiness" has become so powerful for Christians.

    Sorry this is so long, but I really like the words to this song!
    Niminahon October 28, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment*to the perpetually plain and the incurably inane*
    that is everything, a glass can only spill what it contains, what comes out of your mouth is an overflow of the heart,
    (A)on August 22, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTitle. A glass can only spill what it contains
    we can only be as good as what's on the inside of us.
    if we have good wine in our cup, were going to spread goodness.
    if we have bitter drink in our cup, were going to spill bitterness.

    I think it's all about different types of people
    (numbers corraspond with stanza)
    1. the outcast.
    cat = vulnerable, on there own, independent.
    its coming in for help, but nobody hears him.
    the saddest part is that someone's right there helping him, but the cat is unaware "its eyes closed"

    2. the proud
    peacocks = pride, argent, boastful, haughty
    the walkway =which is THE place to show off,
    there in a zoo =its a place for animals, in CAPTIVITY!

    the peacock has SOME freedom, he can walk the walkways,
    SO he thinks , he's better then giraffes and tigers.
    but he's really still in a ZOO, stuck in captivity.

    3.the religious
    first part covers those who talk but don't act. The people who talk about whats right and wrong but never actually seek to end human suffering.

    'a glass can only spill what it contains'
    you can only spill over what's in your cup.

    the second part is to the always empty, boring people.
    you can only help them to the point that you yourself are filled.

    how can you help those when you need help yourself. or if you have a little bit of goodness in your glass, how can you fill others to overflowing goodness?

    4. Jesus
    Its CRAZY Jesus being insulted. and beaten.
    and Jesus's Father does not defend (protect) HIM!
    it makes no sense (a mystery)

    5. The Fake
    somebody's yakking, about something,
    but they really don't understand the topic at hand.
    there just blabbering.
    dressing up, = pretending, faking, deceiving.
    its like a fool who is dressing up, going to a gathering of wise people.
    the fool is celebrating that nobody really knows who he is, and since the fool 'thinks he knows' what's going on, the fool thinks she's wise, but in reality. we know she's a fool.
    So the wise are only 'half way listening' and see for her for what she is.

    6. The Wise speak...
    He only half hartly trys to communicate to the fool, but he gives up. .
    gives up calmly though! its a noble resgination,
    They both, the wise man and foolish women, saw and did alot,
    but she (the fool) not understanding the deeper meaning of it all. saw negativity

    we can function on what is in us
    she didnt grow up and know how to handle life,
    the reason everything stunk was because she wasn't full enough to appreciate it.

    7. The wise admit It doesn't make sense. look at these paradoxes!

    God is seen in nature but very subtly.
    ("invisible is seen!" that's impossible, but it happens in the shadows and mist. mist and shadows are both natural occurrences but are very very subtle and flightly.)

    God transcends time, but appears in Time (Infinite appears in time)

    God is so great how can we even attempt to question him.
    if we question him of course he makes no reply, who should he?
    seeing Him should be enough.
    he's been there the whole time, why are you asking questions?
    he doesn't need to respond.

    think about it
    what's going on?

    my lips betray with a kiss. = Judas
    The wise is saying.
    he's just like Judas.
    Betraying Jesus, even though he's seen God.
    and it doesn't make sense.

    : )
    whatcha think?
    gojoeon September 27, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe Almighty One, The Immeasurable One, The Invisible, The Infinate, and The Unquestionable are referring to God. That's why they are capitalized, like "He" when referring to God. Each of the verses describes one of the paradoxes of God. And to those thinking this song badmouths God: Seeing as they are actually a non-evangelical Christian band, it's highly unlikely they are calling God into question.

    The rest of the song describes many different types of people. Cats, peacocks, giraffes, perpetually plain, incurably inane, pious and profane, and several others are all different types of people that you will only see and recognize if you are not among the "incurably inane"

    The purpose of the phrase "a glass can only spill what it contains" is that each of these people can only show what they are, but since so many people today are simply dressing in their parents closed, they themselves do not realize what they are. So it is a call to attention for those people the "incurably inane" to shed their parents closed and look through the glass to see what they contain.
    andiWILLwanderonon May 24, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment*PERPETUALLY PLAIN, not place.
    andreaaaaon September 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentsounds like:

    the invisible being
    above the shadows in the mist,
    before my doubting eyes,
    the infinite appears this time.
    the unquestionable is questioned,
    but makes no reply!

    i think the word doubting fits better into the whole meaning of this song. i could be wrong.

    nice job on the lyrics

    wow this song is great
    what new mystery is this?
    m0leculeon September 02, 2006   Link

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